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SCOTUS to Hear Case on TPS and Eligibility for Adjustment

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has agreed to hear a case concerning whether a grant of temporary protected status (TPS) authorizes eligible noncitizens to obtain lawful permanent resident status. The case, Sanchez v. Mayorkas, No. 20-315, comes from the Third Circuit and is set for April 19, 2021.

What Is the Issue?

Circuit Courts have been divided as to whether TPS is considered an “inspection and admission” for purposes of subsequent adjustment of status. According to The National Court Review:

“Applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence must show they were inspected and admitted or paroled into the United States to be eligible. The Sixth, Eighth, and Ninth Circuits found that TPS was considered an inspection and admission for adjustment purposes. The Third and Eleventh Circuits came to opposite conclusions.”

What does this mean for temporary protected status beneficiaries and applicants? The National Court Review explains further, for example:

“TPS holders residing in Ohio can potentially adjust status, but TPS holders in neighboring Pennsylvania cannot. The difference in the courts’ opinions comes from the interpretation of whether Congress crafted the TPS statute to treat all TPS recipients as “nonimmigrants” under the Immigration and Naturalization Act who have been inspected and admitted, regardless of whether that inspection and admission occurred at a port of entry or within the United States.”

What Is Temporary Protected Status?

According to USCIS, “The Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a foreign country for TPS due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.” Those conditions can include:

  • Ongoing armed conflict (ex. civil war)
  • An environmental disaster (ex. earthquake or hurricane)
  • An epidemic
  • Other extraordinary and temporary conditions
Who Is Eligible for Temporary Protected Status?

Nationals of designated countries must already be in the US to be considered for TPS. Eligible individuals without nationality who last resided in the designated country may also be granted such status. There are other eligibility requirements, therefore it is wise to seek the guidance of a Columbus immigration attorney for help with this process.

Countries Designated for TPS

There are a total of 12 countries whose residents are eligible for TPS. The most recent additions are Burma and Venezuela, both added in March 2021. The other 10 counties are: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nepal, Nicaragua, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

It is important to note that countries are not all added to the list for an indefinite period. For example, Venezuela was added to the list for 18 months until September 9, 2022. But depending on the conditions in the country at the time of the next assessment, that period can be extended.

Benefits of Temporary Protected Status

During a designated period (usually 18 months), individuals who are TPS beneficiaries or who are found preliminarily eligible for temporary protected status upon initial review of their cases:

  • Are not removable from the United States.
  • Can obtain an employment authorization document (EAD).
  • May be granted travel authorization.

TPS beneficiaries also cannot be detained by DHS based on his or her immigration status in the United States.

The Key to TPS: It Is Temporary

As the name indicates, “temporary protected status” is a temporary benefit that does not lead to lawful permanent resident status or give any other immigration status. However, registration for TPS does not prevent you from:

  • Applying for nonimmigrant status.
  • Filing for adjustment of status based on an immigrant petition.
  • Applying for any other immigration benefit or protection for which you may be eligible.
Other TPS Developments

Biden’s proposed U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 would offer an eight-year path of citizenship for temporary protected status beneficiaries. Meanwhile the House passed a stand-alone bill granting similar relief, which is now up for decision in the Senate.

Need Help?

There are many nuances to temporary protected status not covered here. It is best to seek the skills and guidance of our Columbus immigration attorney at Sam Shihab & Associates. If you need help with TPS or any other immigration issues, contact us today. We have offices in Dublin and Columbus, Ohio, as well as Michigan and Texas. Our expertise is available to clients nationwide and even around the world.

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